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Predator or prey? An exploration of the impact and incidence of sexual assault in West Australian prisons

Steels, B. and Goulding, D. (2009) Predator or prey? An exploration of the impact and incidence of sexual assault in West Australian prisons. Centre for Social and Community Research, Murdoch University, Perth, Western Australia.

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      Abstract

      This study set out to investigate the incidence and social implications of sexual assault within the West Australian prison system. One of the key aims was to gauge the levels of both reported and unreported sexual assault, questioning the prison authority’s claim that prison rape is a rare occurrence.

      Although sexual assault occurs within both male and female prison populations, this study looked only at men’s experiences, concentrating on men who had served time in prisons in and around the Perth metropolitan area. The researchers’ questions covered overtly violent sexual assault as well as sexual assault through coercion. Within this context, the researchers attempted to provide an overall estimate of the prevalence of sexual assault within the male prisoner population in Western Australia. They also explored the connections between self harm, suicide ideation and sexual assault and looked at any links between past sexual victimisation and the likelihood of becoming a sexual predator.

      The two specific research questions that the study addressed were;
      • What factors might help to provide a basis from which to reduce the incidence of prison sexual assault?
      • What types of service provision might better assist victims of prison sexual
      assault?

      Publication Type: Report
      Murdoch Affiliation: Centre for Social and Community Research
      Publisher: Centre for Social and Community Research, Murdoch University
      Copyright: Centre for Social and Community Research, Uniting Church in Australia
      URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/10978
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